Sharp ascent of Razorlight

Eight days after Andy Burrows auditioned to be the drummer in Razorlight, he was being photographed for the front page of the NME. Lynette Alcock talks to him about how it feels to be catapulted to fame.

While most bands spend years jamming in a garage before even the glimmer of success appears on the horizon, Razorlight were forcing their way into the spotlight within months of forming in 2002.

Led by an audacious and eccentric frontman, in the form of Londoner, Johnny Borrell, Razorlight caught the music world's attention and left them hungry for the debut album Up All Night, which was released in June of this year.

The album met with critical acclaim. Well written songs, fantastic lyrics and a lead singer with more attitude than you could shake a stick at rocketed the album into the top 10 albums in the UK.

But the stealth to fame was too much for original drummer Christian Smith-Pancorvo, who left the band for health reasons in May, giving them just two weeks to find a replacement before the start of their 2004 UK tour.

Across the UK in Winchester, 24-year-old Andy Burrows, who had never heard of Razorlight, was just waiting for a break.

“I couldn't not go to that audition,” says Andy. “It was just the biggest opportunity for me. That and the fact my girlfriend and my brother were telling me to do it.

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“At the time I was working really hard with three bands trying to get somewhere and people were starting to ask me what I was going to do with my life.

“I have always wanted to be a drummer; I started drumming when I was eight. I'm not very good at saying I'm brilliant, but drumming is the one thing in life I know I can do well.

“I firmly believe that if you are good at something and you are prepared to stick at it you will get there in the end, so when I got this I just thought thank you so much. It was a big finger up to some people.”

Eight days later Andy was posing in his underwear for the front page of the NME. “That was really weird,” says Andy. “A week earlier I'd have been lucky to get a review in the back pages and here I was posing for the front cover. I hate doing these kind of things, let alone without my clothes on, but it was a great introduction to photo shoots.

“When I look at that NME it makes me smile because I think a week before I didn't even know what I was doing with my life.”

Razorlight are not a band to go lightly. Since their formation in 2002, frontman, Johnny has already earned himself a reputation for being more cocky than Liam Gallagher and more outlandish on stage than a young Mick Jagger or Jim Morrison. “He's definitely not your average bloke,” laughs Andy. “He is completely off the wall, but that is what makes a good frontman.

“He is an excellent song writer and he puts everything into the live shows, he keeps the audiences attention the whole time.”

In the last four months Razorlight have toured almost perpetually and there's little sign of a break on the horizon.

“Even though I have only been in the band four months it feels more like 10,” says Andy. “We have been so busy. I had to learn a whole set, 16 songs, in four days, that was pretty intense.

“We have been doing things I had only dreamed about doing like playing the main stage at Reading. Half the time I am over the moon and the other half of the time it is very strange; I just don't know what is going to happen.

“We have got some tours coming up with the Manics and Keane which will be fantastic. I am just enjoying myself so much at the minute. We just want to keep on and break as many territories as possible.”

t Special guests on the NME Rock 'n' Roll Riot Tour are The Duke Spirit who are touring in support of their new single Cuts Across the Land – out on October 4. Doors 7.30pm.

t Tickets (returns only). Telephone 01603 508050.

t The gig is a sell-out, but EDP Event is giving you the chance to see Razorlight for free! The NME's Rock 'n' Roll Riot Tour, in association with O2 Music, will be the gig of the year as it tears through 12 university towns this autumn. Razorlight will be crashing into the UEA, Norwich, on Wednesday and Event has teamed up with NME, the UK's best selling weekly music magazine, to give three lucky readers the chance to be there for free. We have three pairs of tickets to give away to the first three text entries out of the bag that correctly answer the following question:

Complete the title of Razorlight's recent top 10 hit – Golden …..

Just text RAZOR followed by a space, then your answer, another space, then your name and postcode and send to: 83070.

Entry costs just 50p for text entry (plus your normal mobile operator cost). Closing date noon, Monday September 27. Winners will be informed by phone.

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